The International Board of Books on Young People opens its 2008 Congress in a program at Glassalen, Tivoli, Copenhagen, at 7 pm this evening. Winners of the Hans Christian Andersen award will be announced. Guest of honor will be the Queen of Denmark herself, Margrethe II.
This morning Vagn, who is proprietor of the publishing house Forlaget Hjulet and chief organizer of the conference, gave me a task: to wrap up a present for the Queen. I went into a tizzy, then in the next moment calmed down. Me ... favorite aunt who has earned a reputation in our family for The Best Presented Christmas Gifts, floored by such an honor? No way!
I went directly to our gift wrapper hamper (yes, we keep one) and found an unopened role of white wrapping paper decorated with lovely silver, gold and pastel star shapes, from Netto by the way, that I had been saving, for some unknown occasion, since 2006. It stood elegantly among the loose roles of Santa Claus and Happy Birthday wrappings. There was a sad roll of thin red plastic ribbon, the kind that the Danes like to curl up into corkscrews with the edge of a scissor-blade. No way. That wouldn't do.
But in my room was a beautiful roll of sinamay, fuchsia with gold lights, that I had bought in Dumaguete and brought all the way here for some un-dreamed of special occasion. Oh, it looked wonderful binding the gift and gathered in a huge knot. It was a present for the girl in every woman. The Queen must have a playful streak in her because she designs lovely stage sets and ballet costumes. Would she notice? Would she remark on the sinamay ribbon? Has she even entered a Netto?
So there was my brush with royalty -- these hands put together this little confection for Dronning Margrethe II: Some pretty holiday paper and a lovely length of sinamay, carried all the way from Handumanan shop in Dumaguete City, Philippines, to Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark. And the gift itself? I won't spoil the secret, in case her very pleasant lady in waiting, who telephoned the house this morning, if not the Queen herself, happens to surf into this little blog. ;-)